Bryce Harper powers Phillies to win over the Mets, 10-5

Philadelphia Phillies

Bryce Harper smiled and laughed as he took infield practice Wednesday. He spoke to a few British journalists in advance of the Phillies’ London trip next month, then chatted with another reporter in the dugout.

One day after getting hit with a migraine, he was in good spirits.

It was time, then, for Harper to resume being a headache for opposing pitchers. It took him three pitches. He banged an opposite-field homer through the rain in the first inning, then lined a two-run double in the fifth inning to power a 10-5 throttling of the New York Mets.

» READ MORE: The Phillies’ young core has helped form MLB’s deepest roster. Just like Bryce Harper wanted.

Make it three consecutive victories for the Phillies over their National League East rival in a home-and-home series that wraps up Thursday night. And chalk up another win for Ranger Suárez, who allowed two unearned runs in five innings and became the first pitcher in Phillies history to go 8-0 through his first nine starts of a season.

But everything runs through Harper. And although he hits wherever he plays, he’s virtually unstoppable at home.

Consider this: Since he signed with the Phillies in 2019, Harper has the second-highest OPS (1.005) of any player in baseball with at least 200 at-bats at home, trailing only Mike Trout (1.058).

“Obviously the ballpark played a big key in where i was going to sign, if that was here or anywhere else,” Harper said before the game. “I loved playing here [with the Nationals], I loved hitting here. There’s nothing like coming into the Bank and playing. I love it. and I’ve grown to love it more and more each year.”

Harper’s homer tied the game against Mets lefty Joey Lucchesi, who was called up to make the start. But the Phillies really pounced on Lucchesi in the fifth inning.

Lucchesi loaded the bases on two walks and a sacrifice bunt before walking Kyle Schwarber to force in a run. J.T. Realmuto, back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore right knee, singled home one run before Harper’s double split the gap in left-center field to plate two more.

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Harper was familiar with Citizens Bank Park from his years with the Nationals.

“I feel like gap-to-gap it plays well,” said Harper, who finished with three hits. “But also you’ve got 409 out there [to the left of center field]. You’ve really got to get it sometimes to center field. Early in the season, it’s a little rough. I don’t know how many balls in the last couple years held up in that left-center gap where I’m saying, ‘What are we doing? In the summer, that’s a homer.’”

Suárez lacked his most precise command. Blame the wet conditions. Or maybe it was one of those games. Whatever the case, he walked two batters, hit one, and threw only 12 first-pitch strikes to 23 batters.

The Phillies’ surest-handed outfielders made things tougher for Suárez, too. Johan Rojas dropped a routine fly to center field in the first inning, and left fielder Cristian Pache overthrew second base on Pete Alonso’s double in the third. Both miscues led to unearned runs.

Suárez threw 62 pitches through three innings, wearily trudging back to the dugout after each frame with his cap askew. But he also sidestepped serious damage, stranding five runners and allowing just the two runs.

» READ MORE: Homegrown Phillies Alec Bohm and Ranger Suárez don’t want to go anywhere. Here’s the extension case for each.

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